Leftover Breads, Cereal & Cookie Products

There are a zillion ways to do over bread and bread products – here’s a few of my thoughts. Feel free to add your favorites in the comments section!

Make herb topping with herbs, spices and either olive oil or melted butter.
Make herb topping with herbs, spices and either olive oil or melted butter.

Bread, General:

  • Always save your ends and crushed up pieces for bread crumbs. They can be thrown in the food processor or grated and bagged up and put in the freezer for “fresh” bread crumbs. Toast in a 300 degree oven for toasted bread crumbs. Add herbs for flavor. Add butter and/or cheese and use for a casserole topping. Use in meatloafs and meatballs.
  • Left over bread can be frozen until you’re ready to make bread crumbs.
  • Make bread pudding or stratas if you have a large quantity of leftover bread.
  • Make bruschetta or crostini.
  • Make croutons by drizzling cubes with a little oil (preferably olive) and a few herbs and baking or frying till golden.
  • If bread is  just a little old, it’s even better for grilled cheese.
  • Old bread is better for French toast or Stuffed French Toast, Stuffing or Bread Pudding.
  • Make a stuffing – this doesn’t have to be a huge process, just make a bit for stuffing chicken breasts or pork chops by tearing up some bread, adding sage or poultry seasoning to taste and moisten with chicken broth.
  • Feed to the birds.
  • You can also freeze fresh bread to use as bread later: wrap well, place in freezer, to thaw put in fridge for a day and then transfer to your bread box. Putting it in the fridge allows the moisture to redistribute slowly. Bread can be frozen for two or three months.
  • Make eggs-in-a-hole: Cut out center of bread, place in heated frying pan coated with oil.  Break egg in middle and fry.
  • Make toast cups by pressing a slice into a muffin tin, brushing with butter and baking at 350 for a few minutes till crisp then fill with anything creamy.
  • French bread or hard rolls can be misted with water and reheated for a few minutes, lightly covered, in the microwave.  Alternatively, if you want to heat things like rolls or muffins, dampen a paper towel or napkin slightly, wring and loosely lay over your baked item.  Microwave for 20 to 30 seconds.  (It’s not recommended to put paper in your microwave so watch it carefully!)

Bread Other:

  •  Biscuits – Leftover, they’re never the same.  Try spritzing with a mist of water and reheating in a 400 degree oven for a few minutes to “freshen.”  Use the 2nd day as the base for any leftover meat and gravy sauce. Toast under a broiler, and make an open-faced sandwich with some combination of meat and cheese.
  • Cake – Freezes well.  Use in trifles.  Serve with ice cream or creme anglaise, no one will know if it’s a little old.  Angelfood cake – mix a little powdered sugar with oj and dip small squares, then roll in toasted coconut.  Crumble and mix in with ice cream.
  • Corn Bread –  Reheat and serve with syrup as a side or breakfast.  Use for cornbread stuffing.  Crumble and mix with a little butter and use as a topping for casseroles. Make cornbread salad.  Cut it in cubes, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and toast for about 30 minutes (stirring now and then) and use as croutons in soups, salads or chili for a sweet salty add in.
  • Crackers – make a great batter for all kinds of fried or oven baked food.  Crush and use in meat loaves or meatballs.
  • Crepes – Stack between layers of plastic wrap or waxed paper and freeze in a zip bag.  Pull out and use for a quick dessert by spreading with jam and/or cream cheese and add a sauce or syrup of some kind.
  • Donuts –  Do people have leftover donuts?  Make the most decadent bread pudding.  Add regular bread if there is not enough.  Leftover donuts from the meeting at work?  Yeah, nab those and bring back bread pudding for lunch tomorrow.
  • French Toast – See Pancakes.
  • Hamburger/Hot Dogs Buns – Make cheesy toast.  Spread a bit of butter mixed with garlic salt on the cut side, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (or other) and put under the broiler for a minute.  Kids love this; it’s amazing how simple and how good.  Also check under bread.
  • Muffins – Freeze and reheat in the microwave for a minute.  Best if you lightly cover with a damp napkin or clean towel that’s been squeezed nearly dry.  Be careful – do not allow paper or cloth to burn.  Try in a bread pudding.  Make jam surprise – cut out top in a cone, fill recess with jam, replace top and gently heat.
  • Pancakes –  Also waffles and French toast.  Use up the full batters and freeze any leftovers.  Put in a single layer in the freezer till frozen, then put in a bag and label.  Microwave for a quick breakfast. Spread with jam and roll for a breakfast to go.
  • Pastries – Rolls, cinnamon buns, caramel rolls, etc. – see muffins for reheating method.
  • Pie Crust –  Cut up the leftover trimmings when you make your pie, brush with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and bake with the pies.  They only take a few minutes, so check them frequently.
  • Quick Breads – Try making as French toast for a different spin on breakfast.  Try, also, cutting into cubes, saute in a bit of butter over medium high heat till slightly crunchy and use as “croutons” over ice cream.  Crumble and use in parfaits, shakes, or over ice cream.
  • Waffles:  See pancakes.  Also serve for dessert with ice cream and a topping.  If I have the time, I prefer to reheat in the oven for a few minutes rather than the microwave so they keep the crisp exterior.


  • Classic is to layer with mashed potatoes, turkey and gravy for a leftover casserole.
  • Try forming into balls, breading with crumbs and deep frying.
  • Stuff mushrooms, zucchini or other vegetables and bake.
  • Or as my daughter says, just eat till gone and wish for more!


  • Fry in oil, sprinkle with salt and zested lime.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  • Make Quesadillas. Tortillas freeze well.
  • Spread with cream cheese and toppings, roll up and cut.

Won Ton Wrappers – See BBQ Won Ton.

  • You can fill with a mixture of cheeses, sauces and vegetables (spinach comes to mind) and make little ravioli as a side dish.
  • You can put together little mixtures of leftovers with cream cheese, or regular cheese and deep fry for a kind of global won ton.
  • If you don’t finish up your wrappers this way, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, place in a zip bag and freeze. Thaw overnight in the fridge.


  • Boxed prepared – If it seems a little soggy or stale, but otherwise fine, spread on a baking sheet and toast in a 300 oven for a few minutes.  Cool and serve as normal. Just a small bit of leftover cereal in the bottom of the box? Depending on the type, crush, put in baggie and keep for a topping for casseroles, use in meatloaf or croquettes or a coating for oven fried chicken or fish. Sprinkle over yogurt.
  • Cream of Wheat – Can be used leftover, much like grits.
  • Grits – Refrigerate and slice, flour and fry for a side dish or breakfast. May be mixed with grated cheese before refrigerating, or flavored with herbs. See polenta.
  • Oatmeal – Reheat with a little water on stove top or microwave. Add to meatloaf or meatballs. Add to pancake or waffle batter. Can be pressed into a loaf pan, turned out and dipped in eggs and crumbs and fried like polenta or grits. A dollop can be used to thicken stews or soups.
  • Polenta – Put in a small loaf pan lined with Saran Wrap.  The next day turn out and slice, flour and pan fry for breakfast or a side dish.  May be flavored with herbs or cheese.


  • Crush and use instead of graham crackers for a pie or cheesecake crust.
  • Crush and serve over ice-cream,
  • use in shakes or layer in parfaits.

Comments and discussion always welcome - tell me what you think.

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